Word of the Day

Sunday, June 03, 2018

doss

[ dos ]

verb

Chiefly British. to sleep or lie down in any convenient place.

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What is the origin of doss?

The origin of the English verb doss is obscure. It is most likely derived from the Latin noun dossum, a variant of dorsum “the back (of the body),” a noun of unclear origin. The verb endorse comes from Medieval Latin indorsāre “to write on or sign the back of a document”; the adjective dorsal “having a back or located on the back” is most likely familiar as an anatomical term, especially referring to the fin of a shark or a dolphin. Doss entered English in the late 18th century.

how is doss used?

… he was too old to doss on furniture night after night.

Coleen Nolan, Envy, 2010

I didn’t want a place to doss down.

Jonathan Gash, The Gondola Scam, 1984
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Saturday, June 02, 2018

brontide

[ bron-tahyd ]

noun

a rumbling noise heard occasionally in some parts of the world, probably caused by seismic activity.

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What is the origin of brontide?

Brontide is an uncommon word, probably formed from the Greek noun brontḗ “thunder” and the suffix -ide, a variant of -id (“offspring of”) occurring originally in loanwords from Greek, and productive in English especially in names of dynasties (e.g., Attalid) and in names of periodic meteor showers, with the base noun usually denoting the constellation in which the shower appears (e.g., Perseid). Brontḗ appears in brontosaurus “thunder lizard” and is from the same Proto-Indo-European root bhrem- (with a variant brem-) “to growl” as Latin fremitus “dull roar,” Old High German breman and Old English bremman, both meaning “to roar,” and Slavic (Polish) brzmieć “to make a sound.” Brontide entered English about 2000.

how is brontide used?

“What’s a brontide?” she said, keeping him from bolting. … “They’re like thunder on a clear day. They’re like the unexplained sounds of artillery when there’s no battle.”

Gary Fincke, "Faculty X," Emergency Calls, 1996

… he urges that brontides predominate in countries which are subject to earthquakes, that they are often heard as heralds of earthquakes, and are specifically frequent during seismic series, and that brontides are sometimes accompanied by very feeble tremors.

Charles Davison, A Manual of Seismology, 1921
Friday, June 01, 2018

concupiscent

[ kon-kyoo-pi-suhnt, kong- ]

adjective

lustful or sensual.

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What is the origin of concupiscent?

Not many Latin words are as easy to break down into their component parts as concupiscent is. The first element is a variant of the preposition and prefix cum “with,” here used as an intensive prefix (“thoroughly”). The second element is the Latin root cup- “desire.” The third, -isc, is the inceptive (also called inchoative) suffix (“beginning to …”). The final element is -ent, the inflectional stem of the present participle; concupiscent literally means “beginning to strongly desire” or simply “desirous.” Concupiscent entered English in the 14th century.

how is concupiscent used?

He looks at Faust’s romance with Gretchen (Camilla Horn) with an agonized tenderness, and at Mephisto’s courtship of the concupiscent Marthe (Yvette Guilbert) with rib-shaking ribaldry.

Richard Brody, "What to Stream This Weekend," The New Yorker, February 24, 2018

He’d have bet his Porsche, from that one look, that she had summed him up as one more concupiscent old guy, easily manipulated.

Edward Falco, Wolf Point, 2005

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